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Young is in the underdog’s corner

By: Jane Pribek//September 19, 2012//

Young is in the underdog’s corner

By: Jane Pribek//September 19, 2012//

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Wisconsin Law Journal photo/Kevin Harnack

Just a few years ago, Peter Young began his professional career as a litigation project assistant, working for the defense and living the fast-paced Chicago lifestyle.

Now he’s a plaintiffs’ lawyer in the laid-back North Woods, and he said he couldn’t be happier.

Young’s first exposure to law was helping with Cook v. Dow Chemical. The case was tried for five months in Denver, concluding with a nearly $1 billion verdict that was reversed.

The job was fascinating and cemented his desire to attend law school. But it also confirmed whom he’d represent.

“It’s a cliché, but it’s true: I’ve always been drawn toward the underdog, to be on the side of folks who’ve been harmed through the bad acts or negligent acts of others or corporations,” Young said. “I’ve always felt that way, and I continue to feel that way, more and more, the further down the track I get into practicing.”

Young started as a clerk for Habush. After graduation, he leapt at the opportunity to return home to join the Rhinelander office.

He serves on the firm’s product-liability committee, but also handles a wide variety of general negligence cases.

Young has tried four cases since earning his law degree, including a recent four-week trial in federal court in San Francisco. Plaintiffs have prevailed in three of them.

What was your worst law school course?

Constitutional law, although I like the Constitution.

If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what would you have done?

I would’ve been a truck driver. I’ve got a commercial driver’s license, and I used to do road construction in college. I drove the dump trucks with the hot-mix asphalt, and, believe it or not, I love to do that type of work.

What song is on heavy rotation on your iPod?

“Tunnel of Love,” by Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler is one of the better guitar players of all time.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My 1986 Ford pickup truck. It’s an absolute money pit. Something’s always going wrong with it because it’s old. But I like driving it around in the woods.

What do you miss most about your childhood?

The freedom to climb trees or play hide-and-seek, kick the can or whatever game you wanted to play, from the moment you got out of bed until the sun went down.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

In briefs, I almost always write, “against this backdrop.” I’ve got to stop doing that.

What was the first concert you ever went to?

My first concert was at the Carlin Lake Lodge in northern Wisconsin in 1988. The Johnny Wagner band was on the stage under a giant tent, complete with wooden dance floor. At the age of five, I danced with my grandmother to Johnny W’s polka music.

What is your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?

The American Birkebeiner ski race between Hayward and Cable, Wis. I’ve done it twice now. It’s personally challenging and it reminds me how easy everything else is.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My 1986 Ford pickup truck. It’s an absolute money pit; something’s always going wrong with it because it’s old. But I like driving it around in the woods.

Who are your favorite writers?

There’s an old travel and adventure writer who wrote in the ‘20s and ‘30s named Richard Halliburton. And “Seven Years in Tibet” – not the movie, the book, by Heinrich Harrer. His other books are good, too. Also, Jim Harrison, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Arizona and Montana.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

In briefs, I almost always write, “against this backdrop.” I’ve got to stop doing that.

What are you craving right now?

Ice cream from The Windmill in Tomahawk, Wis. It’s the best.

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